Gentleman Death / Perpetual Motion

Category: Book
Introduction By: Atwood, Margaret
By (author): Gibson, Graeme
Subject:  FICTION / Canadian
  FICTION / Classics
  FICTION / Coming of Age
  FICTION / Family Life
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Published: August 2020
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 560
Size: 8.01in x 5.21in x 1.40in
Our Price:
$ 25.00
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*Together in a single volume, two beloved works by the inimitable Graeme Gibson.

Gentleman Death
Novelist Robert Fraser comes face-to-face with creativity, his mortality, and the deaths of his father and brother. Set mainly in Toronto, the novel also takes us to London, Scotland, Germany, and New York as we follow the escapades of two of Fraser's fictional characters. There is Simpson, called into service as an anonymous sperm donor, and Dunbar, an enigmatic tourist in Berlin just before the Chernobyl disaster, where he meets the captivating Lena, with whom he begins to sense an almost forgotten freedom and elation.
     But at the centre of Gentleman Death is Robert Fraser's own compelling story. Gibson juxtaposes reality and fiction in this compassionate, sometimes outrageous, often very funny exploration of the absurdities and alarms of aging, the nature of fiction itself, and the maturity that grows from reconciliation.

Perpetual Motion
First published in 1982, Perpetual Motion is Graeme Gibson's superb evocation of a time when faith in material progress is still challenged by superstition and a lingering belief in magic. It is an ironic yet compassionate examination of the painful consequences of human folly.
     Set in southern Ontario in the late nineteenth century when the machine age was coming into its own, Perpetual Motion chronicles the fortunes of settler Robert Fraser, a man obsessed with power and control. Driven by the idea of inventing a perpetual motion machine which will utilize natural energy, he neglects and destroys not only the nature around him but his own family too, as his overbearing rationality becomes a kind of tragic lunacy.
Review Quote*Praise for Perpetual Motion

"Perpetual Motion is an authentic slice of the Canadian past, and it recalls the historian's grim saw that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -Vancouver Sun

"Like Joyce's Dublin and Hardy's Wessex, Mad River can now be found on the map of the human imagination." -Maclean's

"The book is at once a comedy-a tragedy: in short, a parable evoking both truths and fallacies about human curiosity and its consequences. It contains, between its covers, a whole and unique world . . . the one from which we have sprung, to our surprise, chagrin, delight-and horror." -Timothy Findley

"A splendid slice of Canadian history turned into powerful fiction." -Quill & Quire

"Beautiful. . . . Long after you've finished you'll continue to wonder about its characters and stories. And that's the mark of success." -Windsor Star

"Gibson has undeniable poetic gifts, and remarkable feel for the place and period. The inhospitable, claustrophobic bush, and the rough, rollicking crowd scenes are well-described." -Montreal Gazette

"An authentic novel of nature and man, of the manifold tragi-heroics, ephemeral triumphs, crazy absurdities and ubiquitous ironies of the human quest. Gibson's acuity and gusto provide a marvellous experience of the wacky and terrible-and you're not always quite certain which is which." -John A. Livingston

Praise for Gentleman Death

"Gentleman Death is a modern danse macabre. A wise and powerful chronicle of fathers and sons and brothers on a new voyage of discovery to the end of the night." -Alberto Manguel

"Graeme Gibson uses the foibles of an aging novelist to address the unaccountable fears that obsess us all sometimes in the small hours of the morning. . . . His story steams along, effortlessly propelled by fine prose, wit, and insight. . . . Delightful." -Quill & Quire, starred review

"Utterly involving. . . . An elegant, poignant novel and a repeatedly funny one." -Financial Post

"An engaging exploration of memory and death. Complex yet accessible, it is an illuminating guide through the rich territory that W.B. Yeats called ‘the rag-and-bone shop of the heart.'" -Maclean's

"A richly mature book, which made me cackle with laughter and stare into the distance with recognition." -Dennis Lee

"Gibson writes clean, hard prose and his literary sensibility seems tough and unflinching. His insights into the mellowing capacity of middle age are particularly fine." -Winnipeg Free Press

"A courageously eccentric book. . . . Delicate and admirable." -Kingston Whig-Standard

"Right from the first page you know you're in good hands. . . . The language and sensibility of this novel are both gritty and beautiful." -Calgary Herald

"With his hardy, no-frills style, Gibson adroitly shows how real life and fiction blend, how dreams and memories merge and how each of us makes what we can out of life-and death." -Vancouver Sun

"Not every novelist dares as much and delivers as much as Graeme Gibson does in Gentleman Death. . . . Reading the novel is like taking a ride on a roller coaster through comic and tragic neighbourhoods of life." -Canadian Forum
Biographical NoteAn important spokesman for Canadian cultural identity, Gibson was the initial organizer and a founding member of the Writers' Union of Canada, and was its chairman in 1976. He was also an organizer and founding member of the Writers' Trust, a non-profit organization, and was subsequently its chairman. From 1987 to 1989 he was president of the Canadian Centre of International PEN. In 1990, he won a Toronto Arts Award for writing and publishing, and, in 1992 he received the Order of Canada. He is the author of four novels: Five Legs (1969), Communion (1971), Perpetual Motion (1982), and Gentleman Death (1993), as well as two bedside companions, The Bedside Book of Birds (2005) and The Bedside Book of Beasts (2009). Graeme Gibson died in September 2019.